Living Abroad

The 12 Days of 2020

The picture above is symbolic of the sun setting on 2020.

Ha, it’s actually just a picture of me during a nature hike that I was tricked into by a friend of mine earlier this year. One of the many things that went well in 2020.

Instead of sharing my top 10 from this year, I’m sharing a spin on the classic Christmas carol – The 12 Days of Christmas and I give to you The 12 days of 2020 and the special gifts this year gave to me.

🎵 On the 1st day of 2020 this horrendous year gave to me…🎵

1 Global Pandemic

Or one global conspiracy theory for those of you who still think the world is flat. The UK has just entered another national lockdown, which means long walks on the beach in the freezing cold is the only way to socialize these days. Or you can go old school and host a virtual quiz. I know, virtual quizzes are sooo March 2020.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since all of this craziness has begun. Saying thank you seems insignificant compared to the sacrifices frontline workers have given all of us this year. But thank you for literally saving lives and providing support to those in need.

And thank you to everyone who understands wearing a facemask is a simple measure to help. I have been pretty subtle with my facemask choices.

Black sparkly face mask - 2020 - Cheers Blondie blog

2 Wives Henry VIII Executed

Yes, very random and slightly morbid, but this was significant for me this year because I had to take a British history test. I have been in Scotland for over five years, and it was time for me to become a permanent resident of the UK. Permanent residency is one step below British citizenship, meaning I could become a semi-fully functioning adult in the UK without the help of my husband. Bye bye, 1952. 

This process includes an invasive look into my life, as well as, a Life in the UK test. The test covers from the beginning of time up until Will and Kate. So it’s pretty basic. But ultimately, what I learned from my studies is that the most significant, victorious and overall best times in Britain were when women were in charge. 

And speaking of being in charge, I would like to share some words of wisdom to my fellow Americans. DO NOT be seduced by a British accent. Seriously, please run the other way. I know it seems really swoon worthy in the moment, but there are over 300 million people in America. Keep looking. And remember the accent may be charming, but then you will be living in the UK and everyone has a damn accent. Not so special anymore.

3 Broken Teeth

Then 3 extracted teeth, 3 dentures and finally 3 new fake teeth. My accident in May was definitely the highlight of my year. I would really recommend not falling face first on cement. I screamed so much during my dental surgeries that my oral surgeon had to tell me to only scream if I thought I was actually dying. I don’t know about you, but when someone is yanking teeth out of your mouth, with a pair of pliers, I would qualify that as thinking you may be dying. 

Recently I was transferred to a new oral surgeon who tried to screw something into my mouth without numbing medicine. This led me to leaping out of the chair and shouting profanities at him. He said he’s never had that reaction from a patient in 20 years. 

I’m just really proud of how far my pain tolerance has come in the last several months.

4 Nurses Who Had to Sedate Me

On top of breaking three teeth, I broke my elbow as well. And it took four nurses the night of my accident to come to the conclusion that morphine would be the best remedy to calm me the hell down.

In all honesty, my pain tolerance has been better since that evening (just not on my teeth). In the last couple of months, I had another surgery on my arm to remove the metal work that was put in place to connect my elbow back together. I was in and out of the hospital in a day. I only cried once and I didn’t even freak out when blood started leaking out of my bandage as I was exiting the hospital. Yes, leaking. It was gross.

The most painful part was actually the car journey home. This was due to my husband driving like a bat out of a hell to ensure his arrival for the kickoff of some soccer game between Scotland and some other country. As I have mentioned previously, my husband is a sports fanatic. Every game is huge, nobody exists outside the teams playing and he will make sure he can watch any game, no matter what’s happening in our lives (i.e. me getting surgery). However, this game did prove to be a big one where Scotland actually won (this doesn’t happen that often) and Scott had to dash in and out of the bedroom to bring me water, medicine and food in between plays. That’s what you call true love.

5 States We Suddenly Cared About

I don’t know if you heard, but the US had a presidential election this year. It was super fun and not embarrassing at all. 

I was in misery for four days (well, four years) as we waited for Nevada to finish counting votes. The moment it was announced that Biden and Harris had won, I was standing in line at the grocery store buying ice to make myself margaritas. Because it had gotten to that point in my life where tequila was the only cure. I started jumping up and down in the aisle with my giant bag of ice and everyone around me staring in confusion. I came home to Scott and he was equally not as thrilled as I would have liked. At that moment I believe the words, “I wish I was married to an American” came out of my mouth. 

Sorry Scott, we all say hurtful things during election time.

Biden Harris 2020 shirt - Cheers Blondie blog
I tried to do as much campaigning as I could from Scotland. Just wait until I become a British citizen and I have two countries I will be voting in. Watch out!

6 Different Streaming Platforms 

So, I have officially watched all of THE television. Yep, everything has been consumed despite the multiple streaming platforms I have. Thank goodness for Christmas time and Hallmark producing a new movie each week. Which is shocking because the production value is top notch.

But the movies take me to a far away land where a young single girl, who works in the big city, decides to move to a small town to marry a dude with a British accent (no matter what make-believe country he’s supposed to be from) and opens a B&B. It’s nice to watch something so far fetched and really get to escape reality.

Christmas couple 2020 - Cheers Blondie Blog
Here are me and my Scottish husband posing for the cover of the next Hallmark Christmas movie

7 Different Black Yoga Pants

I wish I was kidding, but I have a different pair for each day of the week. And I even have my “fancy” yoga pants for when I meet someone for a socially distanced gathering. If you see me in my shiny, pleather Sweaty Betty pants then I consider this outing a social highlight of my week. Feel special. And yes, I still say “pants” instead of “trousers”. Because trousers sounds like I’m living in the 1800s and about to go play croquet in the garden.

I did put a dress on for Christmas day and it was like when Cinderella was transformed by her fairy godmother. Except instead of a carriage ride to a grand ball, I walked 10 minutes to my in-laws house.

8 Bottles of Wine (per shopping run, every other day)

I must say there are some shopping habits that I would like us to keep in a post covid world including:

  • Not judging others when you see 8 bottles of wine in their shopping cart
  • Let’s please continue to take turns going in and out of shops
  • And standing in a single line without touching each other
  • Please still remain two meters away from me while I pick out my favorite cheeses
  • And let’s keep the higher limit of contactless payment available for ultimate laziness

9 Rooms to Renovate

We thought 2020 had been going so well we should buy a house, move and renovate the whole place. Actually “renovate” is too strong of a word, what we are doing is very much DIY. Our house was built in the 80s and has never been redecorated again. So until we can fully renovate, we have taken it upon ourselves to do some handy work.

Kitchen renovation - Cheers Blondie Blog
Kitchen renovation - DIY - Cheers Blondie blog

The above is a before and after of our kitchen cabinets. Looks rewarding, right? I did that myself. I primed them, painted them, painted them again and again and again until I hated my life so much that I nearly got a sledge hammer and started the renovation of the kitchen myself. I would highly suggest never, ever doing this. All I see now are the imperfections and I have painful flashbacks of how that blue paint stained my blonde locks and my hair stylist had to actually cut it out.

10 Times a Day I Say “You’re on mute”

Working remotely has become the 2020 way, but starting a new job during a pandemic is not an ideal situation. Sure, I like that I can roll out of bed, get myself ready from my waist up, and walk the 30 second commute to my desk. 

And staying on top of laundry throughout the day is a huge perk. As is being home to always greet my Amazon delivery person. Especially since that’s the most social interaction I have had all year.

But it’s odd not getting to know your co-workers the good old fashioned way — getting drunk in a pub after work. I miss the good old days when my colleagues and I would drag ourselves into work wearing sunglasses inside while eating a bacon roll and vowing to never drink again. That’s how true friendships are made.

11+ Times a Day I Miss My Family and Friends (except my husband)

I have no time to miss my husband because he’s ALWAYS around. Which has been lovely and very special.

I am very grateful though that before all of this shit began I had an amazing trip to the states. Back in February, I went to FL and DC and saw most of my family and friends. I was also warm for those few weeks. Those memories are the most special to me, as I curse the lack of central heating in my house. 

I also celebrated my birthday in January and had a wonderful dinner party with my UK girlfriends. I obviously had no idea that would be the last time we would hang out in a big group. If I had known, I would have gotten really drunk, gone dancing in a tiny room with a ton of people, ordered a jumbo slice of pizza before calling a germ infested cab to take me back home. If only I could remember what we did that night.

12+ Times a Day I Try to Self-Reflect

2020 has brought a lot of self-reflection and hopefully self-awareness to those who give a shit about other people. In addition to COVID-19, the world has had to shine a light on larger issues that so many are facing. Including depression, abuse and racism. It’s been a scary time for so many, on top of a global pandemic. And as much as I joke that my year has been crap, I am one of the lucky ones and I know that. I am loved, I live in a safe environment and at the end of the day I’m a privileged white chick. Something I haven’t earned, but was born with. And I definitely force myself to stop and reflect on how my words and actions can help to educate and improve situations instead of adding or ignoring hateful rhetoric.  

All in all, 2020 is one the entire world will never forget. And it’s been shit, no doubt. But I have also learned a lot about appreciating the small things, caring for others (including strangers) and being hopeful for the future. I know 2021 won’t magically change things overnight, but it just has one job and that’s to be better than 2020. Please don’t let us down!

St Andrews, Scotland - 2020 - Cheers Blondie blog
Thank you St Andrews for being an oasis I never thought I would need during a global pandemic. But I really hope we can start seeing other people next year. Peace out 2020.
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